“Just Daddy”



This has been the hardest thing for me to write—ever.  No, no.  Not because grief consumed me and I couldn’t bring myself to think about it.  Oh, sure.  I’ve grieved.  I still grieve.  But the obstacles in the path of my thought process haven’t been emotional.  Really. 


My problem with writing about my Daddy?  I just couldn’t think what to say.  That’s all.   In the big scheme of things, he was just….Daddy.  My Daddy.  Just because he was the leading man at the house I grew up in wouldn’t really make him a figure of interest to anybody who didn’t know him.


We buried my father on February 2, 2009.  When the lid to the casket closed, a panic swooped over me.  I would never, ever see him again this side of Heaven.  Never.  And with the closing of that lid, everything I could have, would have, should have asked him about himself was sealed forever.  No more chances to “get to know him better.”  I had my chance and all I could do was hope I had learned enough. 


I grew up in an era when so many dads were—well—just dads.  They married our mothers which made them husbands and then they became fathers.  Simple.  Having kids was just part of being married for so many men in this era.  Part of the job—just went with the territory.  Well, that’s how it seemed to me.  So, to me as a kid growing up, he was just plain ol’ Daddy.  Nothing special.  Just a guy doing his job.


Oh, sure.  There were the other fathers, the exceptions.  And sometimes, as a little girl, I seethed with jealousy toward my friends whose fathers were the exceptions.  The dads who called their daughters “Princess”.  I honestly convinced myself that my dad would have been a better dad if he would have only called me “Princess.”  But my father, plain ol’ Daddy, didn’t anoint me with that coveted name.  Oh, well, I survived the beastly abuse of not being the little princess of my daddy’s eye.  I somehow managed to shoot to adulthood as a fully functional, well adjusted woman in spite of this atrocity. 


The beauty of it all?  I learned he couldn’t have been a better father.  Even considering the fact that he never had a pet name for me, that he didn’t take me fishing, that he didn’t play games with me—he still couldn’t have been a better father.


He supported his family on $2.15 an hour with his Post Office job (before it was union and before it was called Postal Union) and pushed a broom at a junior high school (in the days before they were called ‘middle school’) after work to make extra money. 


Times were hard, money was short.  Suppers consisted often of pinto beans and cornbread or, on Sundays we ate scrambled eggs (never knew the Sunday egg connection—have made a mental note to find out from my mother).  But we ate.  We didn’t want.  We were happy.  We were a family and our house was a warm sanctuary. 


I thought I knew my daddy as well as I needed to.  He wasn’t my best friend.  He was my father.  The man who raised me.  In the world I lived in (this is the world before time-outs replaced spankings), your daddy was just your daddy, and that was all he was supposed to be.  What more did you need to know?


Well, I had a startling revelation that he might be a little more than that when I got married.  The morning I was scheduled to leave my girlhood home to move to Alabama as a married woman, I got up early to say ‘good-bye’ to my daddy before he left for work.  He hugged me so tight that I couldn’t break his hold.  When he finally let go, he’d been crying.  Tears were in his eyes.  How dare he?  This man who was supposed to be as indifferent as I was?  Crying?  Yes.


From then on I realized he was more than just my father, but was a man with feelings and a personality I hadn’t gotten to know.  He was a man who had a whole life before I came along, a man I never knew. 


Thank God for revealing this to me while he was still alive.  For letting me learn about my father—the man who served his country in World War II in the Eleventh Airborne and earned a Purple Heart.  The man who did double duty and served in the Navy on The U.S.S. Wasp.   The man who sort of looked like a combination of William Holden and Paul Newman when he was young.  The good looking man who married my mother and conceived me and my siblings.


The man who, as it turns out, actually had a fascinating life, but who to me was still just Daddy. 






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You Can’t Drive 55…Even if it’s Sexy?






“You Can’t Drive 55…..Even if it’s Sexy?”



Hey, you!  You know who you are!  The Jeff Gordon Wannabe who tailgated then passed me this morning like a bat out of hell, weaving in and out of traffic with perfect synchronization—like you were in the Daytona 500. 


Okay, okay, I have to admit.  The professional drivers—the guys who lap up the tracks in the professional races—the guys who make the big bucks to drive at one million miles an hour—they are sexy.  Yes, there is something very sexy about them.  Jeff Gordon.  Bobby and Terry Labonte.  And my idol, Richard Petty.  Their slick, colorful high performance machines.  Ah!  Male adrenaline crashing head on with female hormones.  Sexy.  And don’t forget the money.  The big money. 


But you, my friend.  Not sexy.  As you pass me with lightning speed in your—is it Toyota?  Some compact Japanese model.  Sometimes you’re at the wheel of a pick up.  Yes, you.  Big Dog Daddy.  You da man!  Actually, you’re more than likely ‘da man’ with high blood pressure which is aggravated by an overwhelming need to prove your masculinity through your vehicle.  Oh, you probably do have an adoring female following.  Why, if studies were done, I’m sure the polls would prove that a percentage of females—ranging in ages from twelve to thirteen—-do find your reckless mobile theatrics very alluring.  To them, you probably are the next best thing to Jeff Gordon.  Without the millions, of course. 


Why am I not addressing reckless female drivers?  Oh, I could.  I should.  But I wanted to address the male NASCAR hopefuls so I could get to the point of this blog.  To tell you about the other male driver I saw while on my morning commute.


Yes.  You.  The guy who cruises Highway 90 every morning in your plain white, sparkling clean Chevy pick up.  I don’t what you look like.  That’s not important.  What is important is the way you drive the speed limit, letting all the hot headed runts pass you by. 


You.  The man who doesn’t feel the need to prove your virility through speeding.  Something in the calm, unhurried way you motor through the five a.m. traffic at a relaxed pace proves you’re in control.  You call your own shots.  You’re where you want to be. 


Something in the way you coast the road without succumbing to the high volume pressure around you makes you incredibly sexy, incredibly secure.  Incredibly masculine because self control is POWER. 


Then, too, you could be just sleepy and bored and just meandering your way to your job so slow because you don’t want to go.  You’d rather be fishing.  But, hey.  That’s even kind of sexy in itself. 


A man cruising the highway who can go 55.  Ah.  Nothing’s sexier.











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My Secret Love, Lawrence Goodbear

“Lawrence Goodbear”






Want to know something?  I have a secret lover.  Well, I call him a lover for want of a better word. 


His name is Lawrence Goodbear.  I’ve never even met him.


My father and I thumbed through the pages of his World War II album, the photographs he’d taken when he was in Okinawa.  Smiling faces of happy-go-lucky soldiers in all their black and white glory—so happy-go-lucky, in fact, you’d never know they were there on big business—-war.  One gorgeous, well-built Adonis named Warren.  A handsome boy with a winning smile named Ortega.  And….Lawrence Goodbear.


There he stood with a slight, knowing grin on his face with one leg jauntily raised and propped on the ruins of an old concrete set of steps.  One dark, beautifully sculpted hand draped over the concrete and the other hand resting on a slender hip.  A ring flashed in the sun on his left hand—one of those rings fellows used to make in high school out of steel—you know the ones.  All the guys wore them. 


I know very little about him.  Daddy only knew he was Indian and he thought he might have hailed from Oklahoma.  All I know is he immediately became my World War II Valentino with his ethereal features and ravens hair, the second I locked eyes on his photo.  So lithe, yet with such subtle power in those lissome limbs.


Although his beautiful face was a portrait of serenity and gentility, Daddy said Lawrence couldn’t hold his booze very well and would get really rowdy when he drank.  He would often grab the diminutive Japanese cooks around the necks with a good natured grip then thump them on the tops of their heads with his knuckles.  As Daddy would tell this, I could picture it so clearly.  I’d already fallen in love with his dark, gentle beauty but the vision of his rambunctious shenanigans just made my “crush” deeper. 


That picture of Lawrence Goodbear is over sixty years old.  Yet as those soft dark eyes stare up from the black and white depths, I feel like he’s NOW, real.  He may be long passed.  He may still be among us.  Somewhere.  If he is still living, he’s no longer the supple, youthful dark Michelangelo’s David that is he is the photo. 


Like I said, the moment I laid eyes on the photo, I fell in love with him.  He’s one of those rare enigmas that I’d give anything to have known, to have been around when the photo was taken, to have heard his voice, see how tall he really was, known if his skin was as soft as it looked, if his hair was as thick as it seemed.   Was there some girl’s initials engraved on his steel ring?  Did he have a girlfriend? 


So, if he’s still out there somewhere with time claiming its right to his youth, I’m still crazy about him.  If he’s gone on to a final resting place, I’m still crazy about him.  My secret love.  Lawrence Goodbear.






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Well, to Him

My first blog.  Where the heck do I start?  I’m just going to pull something out of that.  I think I’ll share a poem I wrote in honor of those wonderful men out there who love us just as we are! 

“Well, To Him”



I have the sultry voice that could tell Bogey to put his lips together and blow

Like Lauren Bacall,

Hundred mile an hour curves like a tight dress

On Marilyn Monroe,

Pin-up perfect legs and tush that could stop traffic dead

Like Betty Grable,

Eyes that can make you stand tall or cut you down to nothing

Like Bette Davis,

And picture perfect bazoombas that never lose their shape,

Like Raquel Welch.

Well, to him I do.


I am the grace and poise that never falter even under the hottest heat

Like Queen Elizabeth,

The selflessness that never tires no matter how hard the going gets,

Like Mother Theresa,

The social and homemaking dynamo that keeps the home fires homey,

Like Martha Stewart,

And wisdom personified who doles out advice to set the world straight

Like Dear Abby.

Well, to him I am.


I will dish out kisses to knock the socks clean off your feet and make you feel

Like Clark Gable,

I will tango with you till the cows come home and make you feel

Like Fred Astaire,

I will be the sweet demure girl who bats her eyelashes and makes you feel

Like John Wayne,

I will make love in a desert tent under a full moon and make you feel

Like Rudolph Valentino,

I will be everything and do anything, the sky’s the limit.

Well, for him I will.


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